Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Prosecution Asks for $2,044 Restitution Order in Chvala Case

Prosecutors are asking that former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala pay the state back $2,044.96 for using state-paid workers on campaign duties, according to a document filed today by Milwaukee Co. Assistant DA David Feiss.

At Chvala's sentencing on Dec. 15, Dane Co. Judge David Flanagan asked the prosecutors to come up with a restitution order within 45 days. A restitution order was sent to 14 former Senate Democratic Caucus employees, and seven returned the survey.

"Of the seven surveys returned only one employee was able to provide specific information with regard to hours worked at the caucus during normal business hours on campaign activities," wrote Feiss.

The former employee said he worked 10 to 15 hours per week on campaign activities during the 2000 campaign cycle, and that half of that work was performed in the Senate Democratic Caucus office. The employee had a monthly salary of $3,209, plus fringe benefits, which was estimated at about $114.93.

"Based upon this assumption, the State calculated that the cost to the State of Wisconsin for this employee's time on a monthly basis was $511.24. The election cycle would have begun in earnest on or about July 1, 2000 and lasted for four months. Multiplying $511.24 times four months, the State calculated a restitution figure of $2,044.96," Feiss explained.

By contrast, Chvala's former colleague, Brian Burke, was sentenced to $75,000 restitution. Prosecutors have recommended $3,500 in restitution for former Rep. Bonnie Ladwig. A restitution order has not been announced in the case against former Rep. Steve Foti, but his attorney said the figure he's heard from prosecutors is in the neighborhood of $300,000.

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